09 Thursday Feb 2017
No tags :(
It happened again last Tuesday. A group of friends at my house were celebrating the 81st birthday of our buddy. What do they talk about most??? Yep, “You-Know-Who”. (Also, know as, “He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named” or “The Dark Lord” in Harry Potter’s world!) I said, “Ladies, please, I would like — as one of my friend’s wrote on Facebook — to declare this house a “No! You-Know-Who zone.” They laughed. When I retreated to my kitchen, I could hear them go on and on about “He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named.”
A good portion of the conversation at a friend’s dinner party the Saturday night before revolved around the antics of this man. Further, I did not escape this resentful discussion as I carpooled to the Grand Mesa for a serene snowshoe adventure on Thursday. Seems like “He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named is all everyone is talking about.
I just want to find peace and quiet and a little sleep amongst the political clatter that I am afraid will sear my very soul. I want to bury my head in the sand; but, I am afraid to because of fear that I won’t know when???? happens. I am trying to find balance. Words of a wise friend come to mind, “Observe don’t absorb.” I find this difficult when many, if not most of my core beliefs, are being challenged. The Dark Lord goes against what my mother and father, Rose and Robert Wheeler, and my professional organization of many years, Public Relations Society of America, taught me about honesty and courtesy.
This blog is about discussions I have had with a number of you about how you are handling these times. I am also including some of my own actions I have found useful. But, before I get to these “trails to tranquility,” I want to explore what in particular is so difficult about “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named” for women in our age group.
For Ladies-of-a-Certain-Age, life was very different when we were growing up than it is now. The roles of men and women were clearly defined as well as expectations of girls. What we experienced as children, is very different than what our daughters did. Our granddaughters have no idea of the norms of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. “You-Know-Who” comes across very differently to us – but, perhaps with the same rancor – than our offspring.
- First of all, he is a man, big and pudgy, who is shown scowling and screeching. Certainly, for numerous ladies-of-a-certain-age, he reminds them of “good ol’ dad.” Many of our dads were World War II or Korean War vets, who had untreated Post Trauma Stress Disorder, PTSD, and taxing jobs, with lots of responsibilities. After all, America’s goal was to boom in those post-war years. Dads spanked and smacked, which they felt was their right and no laws prevented them from doing so. Other than secretaries, clerks and a few factory workers, no women worked for or with them. Most, if not all of their co-workers, were Caucasian. They were verbally abusive, and dismissive. Dads were always right. They did not help with childcare. They earned the bread and ruled the house.
- Second of all, little girls had to be nice and never show anger.
- Third, girls (and boys) were to be seen, but not heard.
- Women did not work outside of the home once they were married, with the possible exception of teachers. There were practically no divorces.
- Girls did not play competitive sports, nor were allowed to.
- There was no “back-talking.”
- Sexual abusive? What was that?
- The actions of the President of the United States, let alone his moral behaviors, were never disparaged.
Our world was turned over in the 1960s and 1970s by the birth control pill and the Feminist Movement. Did you burn your bra? I didn’t. But, I was only one of two females in 1973 who graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Colorado’s School of Business. My guess is I would have been thrown out if I had burned my bra. Today, over 50 percent of the graduating class of the University of Colorado Graduate School Of Business is female.
Our daughters have a hard time believing what our life and our mothers’ lives were like.
So it is no wonder that many ladies-of-a-certain age say, “I Just try and not think about the awful political scene today,” as one 76-year-old retired educator told me.
Trails to tranquility, tips from ladies-of-a-certain-age, about how to deal with these troubling times include:
- Limit television, radio, print media and social media time. Do not watch or read anything at night if you want to sleep.
- Don’t quit listening, watching or reading media reports. We have to know what is going on.
- Be very selective of which media you read or tune into. One reader, a retired California psychotherapist, told me she only watches one news show now because she feels it is the only one she can trust to report honest and accurate news.
- Don’t stuff your feelings! Write and call your congressperson about issues or nominees that are troublesome to you.
- Keep your “Pussy Hat” handy. Be prepared to use it again.
- Dollars talk. Don’t buy products from companies that make you mad such as L.L. Bean, Nordstrom, Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, Carl’s Jr., Hardees, etc.
- Stay in the present
- Pray for “He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named”
- Believe there is some plan and good things will happen
- Go to more 12-Step meetings
- Get into therapy
- Do yoga -many yoga centers and teachers are tuning their classes to help with this stress
- Get outside
- Listen to music (My favorite is Good Old Rock and Roll, kind of music which soothes the soul. Also, I listen to a saxophone playing jazz before bedtime.)
- Watch a kitten play and giggle
I would like to end with a quote from soon-to-be-83-years-old Gloria Steinem:
“Women grow radical with age. One day an army of gray-haired women may quietly take over the earth.”
There comes a time in an American woman’s life – somewhere around the age of 50 – where she becomes invisible:
- Businesses no longer market to her
- The fashion industry forsakes her
- Television does not portray her and radio does not broadcast to her
- Social and print media do not know her
- Men and her children have forgotten her
- Politicians certainly don’t mention her
She represents one of the most wealthiest, powerful and largest groups in America.
Ladies- of-a- Certain Age – powerful, vital, dynamic
Resources, information, support and advocacy for Women of a Certain Age
Copyright – Elizabeth J. Wheeler, February 8, 2017